Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Media Manager

With the slow and gradual exit of Mukesh Ambani close confidante Anand Jain from the charmed circle of the Reliance Industries chairman, his other close associate Manoj Modi has emerged as the new media manager. Not known for his articulation and persuasive skills Modi in an unprecedented move arrived in Delhi recently to explain RIL's stand on the simmering gas row between the two estranged brothers.

With Nira Radia running black ops for Reliance Industries in Delhi's power circuit, many of the traditional powerbrokers in the RIL camp have either ceased to function or have been removed from the equation or given alternative assignments. Former Delhi boss Shankar Adawal has been sidelined completely, the all powerful Balu aka V Balasubramaniam is also now a pale shadow of his old self, though he still frequents his old haunts of Shastri Bhawan and Le Meridien Hotel. Another key lieutenant Samir Saran who used his charm offensive to network with journalists finds himself cooling his heels in Observer Research Foundation. Former IAS officer and joint secretary in the petroleum ministry Najeeb Jung has been installed in Gopaldas Bhawan, the epicentre of RIL's machinations in Delhi.

So, with no real pointman left in the capital, Manoj Modi despite having burnt Mukesh Ambani's petroleum cash in a disaster called retail was seconded into explaining the RIL stance to top editors and promoters in Delhi. Meeting television channel bosses and print editors, as also briefing some of the key younger personnel, he gave them a rundown on the state of the gas row. Unscathed after the Reliance Retail debacle, Modi has turned out to be Mukesh Ambani's key crisis manager. It is clear that after squandering a fortune punting on the oil spike heading for $200 a barrell, Mukesh Ambani is taking no chances with the KG Basin gas. Reneging on his promise and commitment to give gas to government owned NTPC and his younger brother's Reliance Natural Resources comes naturally to him.

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